Scarlett Media presents Ten Ways Disney RUINED the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy
Prepare yourselves as the most dysfunctional family to ever exist continually drags the entire known universe into its drama all while they kill each other over a religion none of them truly seems to believe in. That right, we’re doing Star Wars. George Lucas’ 1977 space opera took the world by storm to become a top grossing media franchise and cultural phenomenon. Known for its colourful cast of characters and ingenious use of practical effects, the films revolve around the themes of warfare, religion, fate and family. All hard hitting and meaningful but they also focused on Jar Jar Binks for parts of a movie so nothing is perfect. However, in our opinion, that’s just where the trouble begins. In 2012, George Lucas sold his beloved franchise to the Disney dream machine for over four billion dollars and 3 more bullets to put down the last of his artistic integrity.
10 Ways Disney Ruined the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy
Sit with us, Padawan, and meditate with us on the Ten ways that Disney ruined the Star Wars sequel trilogy. If you agree with our points, hit the like button and join the ranks of the Jedi Knights. If you disagree and strayed from the path of knowledge and duel us in the comments.
#10 Same old story.
A force sensitive orphan leaves a desert planet on the millennium falcon to join up with a resistance group and blow up a planet sized space laser. Are we talking about A New Hope or The Force Awakens?
It’s abundantly clear the films move to a nearly identical beat is undeniable as their predecessors. Bringing in the old actors to reprise their roles was a move everyone loved, but bringing in the old plots as well may have been a bit too much. It’s like moving house into an identical building with knock-offs of all your old stuff.
#9 Lacklustre Character Arcs.
In media, many long term characters should have a “3 Act Transformational Arc.” Barely anyone does in the Sequels. Take Finn. Formerly FN-2187, Finn defects from the First Order because he instinctively feels that they are wrong. He is shown to have agency, virtue and an understanding of things outside what was meant for him. Yet by the third movie loses it all and is replaced with a robot that shouts “REY?!” every few minutes while chasing her around the galaxy. There goes his agency. In Rise of Skywalker, Finn is immediately suspicious of Poe when the latter lightspeed skips or hotwires a speeder, both things that an accomplished pilot should be able to do. There goes his understanding. It’s the opposite of great writing, as the writers start out with developed, 3 dimensional characters only to whittle them down to barely one character trait each.
All the promise shown to us at the beginning of Finn’s journey miraculously disappears throughout the rest of the trilogy and he is pushed into a supporting role, as opposed to the driving force that he should have been. He becomes a placeholder that could have been anyone, played by anyone. All the growth is jammed into the final half of the last film.
#8 Lack of Representation.
This one is truly a hard hitter that links very closely to point number four. It would be an injustice to the actors and characters not to mention that, throughout the trilogy, the characters of colour are thrown by the wayside. Most, like Finn, gradually lose agency and depth as their growth and screen time is sapped of attention in favour of other stories. Some were pushed to background characters as seen with Kelly Marie Tran’ Rose Tico. Rose went from being a primary protagonist in The Last Jedi, to being in The Rise of Skywalker for all of 76 seconds.
But wait, there’s more. There are named LGBT characters in this trilogy, who happen to be a couple, and whose representation boils down to a single a kiss at the end of the movie. A 3 second clip that gets edited out when shown in countries that have strict laws against the LGBTQ+ community is not progress, its pandering. This tied in with pushing characters of colour out of the spotlight is of shameful. You would expect that in a sci-fi, futuristic, fictional setting there would be more than two LGBT individuals in the whole galaxy. Just because China doesn’t want to see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.
#7 No consequences.
Remember how Yoda died? No, he came back as a force ghost. That’s a bad example. Okay, what about when Chewie died? Wait, he was on a different transport. Palpatine? Obi-Wan? Snoke? Oh, that was Palpatine again. What about when Ben dies at the end? I mean after he brings Rey back from the dead. Yeah, I think that may be the only example of a consequence being seen through. Kill a character? Most of the time it’s meaningless. Either they come back as a force ghost or a half robot hate zombie. Oh, you need to scrap your droids memory to get access to some secrets? Don’t worry about it, there’s a backup in this squeaky blue and white bin I found.
Without actual lasting consequences to a character’s actions, there is no suspense or meaning to failure. This trilogy has the amazing ability to undermine every narrative decision made earlier in the same film.
It’s hard to truly care or feel tension when the suspension of disbelief is constantly shattered as quickly as when you finally stay awake long enough to find out your dad is the tooth fairy. Yeah, last week was tough for me.
#6 Rey is a badly written protagonist.
This point is sometimes met with criticism, so we only ask that you listen to what we have to say and give an informed response after the video.
Rey’s path to gradually outshine her entire supporting cast and fellow protagonists as the primary hero is an unnecessary one. Many consider Rey to be a Mary Sue, a character who is so competent that it appears unrealistic for the world’s settings, but this claim is unverified. Rey never truly fails at anything to any lasting degree because she is never properly challenged or punished. Every problem she encounters falls into her skill set, from piloting and fighting, to an understanding of mechanical engineering. Whenever she does fail, the plot immediately clears her of blame by reversing what we thought had happened, which reneges on whatever emotional growth she may have had to undergo. When she loses the McGuffin Map to Exogul, Kylo conveniently has another. When she destroys the transport, Finn and Poe don’t blame her for killing Chewie. Yet when I accidentally blow up a 7 foot dog, I’m the bad guy.
#5 Family Matters.
Imagine everyone you met, that was of any importance, was related to someone else you knew? Wouldn’t the massive galaxy you inhabit feel like a very small place lacking in diversity. Rey being from nowhere was the most meaningful decisions they made for her character before scrapping the idea. We get it already; these films are related to Star Wars. Important characters do not have to be some other important characters parent or child to have meaning.
#4 Tone Deaf Delivery.
Of the three movies, the Last Jedi is the only one with any decent humorous moments.
The same cannot be said for the third as the tone disjunction from scene to scene is astounding and none of the moments of brevity seem to hit quite right. Often leaving the viewer nothing but cringe and non committal chuckle that we feel obligated to provide.
JJ Abrams, you aren’t funny. I’m sorry you had to find out this way.
#3 Directorial discord.
Oh, JJ. Oh, Rian. What were you two thinking? Don’t you think it may have been a good idea to correspond a little before bombing this beloved franchise? This sort of disagreement could have been avoided if Disney had given either one the job of making all three films and given that director enough time to properly make them. Instead, they pushed the release schedule and all we got was arguing directors and a rushed final film that spends its first half backtracking on everything that happened in its prequel out of petty un-cooperation. What a great use of our time.
#2 Carrie Fisher.
The passing of Carrie Fisher was a truly devastating moment for any who were as big fans of the original trilogy as we are. So when it was revealed that she would be posthumously used in the final film, an air of indelicacy filled the lungs of any who learned of it. The use of her character in the Rise of Skywalker was not only rough and out of place but felt oddly indecent. Taking a deceased actor and using her in a film that she can have no say in is ghoulish.
JJ Abrams coming at us again with another fine example of ‘just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.’
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#1 Business as usual.
Everything we have discussed in the former points congeal with the constant throwbacks to previous instalments to lend credence to the suspicion that Disney are preying on consumer nostalgia for profit. “Hey, remember R2-D2? Buy our toys.”
Disney treated Star Wars too much like a business opportunity designed to sell new character action figures. Kylo Ren looks better at Disney World with the helmet on so JJ Abrams backtracks Ben’s character growth and brings it back. Rey needs to survive at the end so she can build a new lightsaber for Disney to sell. After all, who needs a fresh and consistent plot with fleshed out characters and consequences when you can buy a fantastic Millennium Falcon Lego set?
Were there any examples we missed? Did you agree with our points? Let us know in the comments below and may the force be with you.
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Writer: Brendan Smith
Editor: AB Scarlett
Voice: Scott Tunnix
Video: Angel Gustanski
Scarlett.Media productions are for commentary, criticism and parody. All media samples are for transformative and fair use.
See Hosseinzadeh v. Klein, 276 F.Supp.3d 34 (S.D.N.Y. 2017); Equals Three, LLC v. Jukin Media, Inc., 139 F. Supp. 3d 1094 (C.D. Cal. 2015).